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Managing Asthma

If you have asthma, you may have developed ways of coping with your symptoms that you may think are working quite well. However, you may not be controlling your asthma symptoms.

Work with your healthcare provider to develop your personalized asthma management goals. Here are some examples:

  • Few, if any, asthma symptoms
  • Few, if any, awakenings during the night caused by asthma symptoms
  • Little or no time off from school or work due to asthma symptoms
  • No limits on your participation in physical activities
  • No asthma-related emergency department visits
  • No asthma-related hospital stays

If you feel that you’re not reaching the goals you’ve worked out with your doctor, or that your asthma is uncontrolled even when you’re taking medicine and following a detailed plan, talk to your doctor about options for controlling your asthma.

Your healthcare providers are your partners in managing your asthma. Let them know your symptoms and how those symptoms are affecting your life. Talk about your asthma triggers and find out what you can do to avoid them. Bring a list of your medications and explain how you’re using them. It's important to create your own personalized asthma goals with the help of your doctor.  Setting goals for your asthma may help you live a healthier life with asthma.

Keep in mind that asthma symptoms can change, and become more or less severe over time. That’s why open and regular communication with your healthcare provider is essential, even if you’re feeling fine. Based on your current condition, he or she may decide to adjust how you’re managing your asthma.

Talk with your healthcare provider about creating an Asthma Action Plan. This is an important tool that will help you work closely with your provider and help you take an active role in managing your asthma.

The following could be signs that your asthma is uncontrolled, with or without medications:

1. Poor symptom control, even when you’re taking all your medications, and following your healthcare provider’s advice

2. Two or more severe asthma attacks per year that require 3 or more days of systemic corticosteroids (like prednisone)

3. One or more trips to the hospital due to asthma attacks over the past year

If you have any one of these signs, your healthcare provider may refer you to an asthma specialist, like an allergist or a pulmonary specialist (also called a pulmonologist). These doctors are specially trained to treat asthma. They can help you get back in control, with the right combination of medications and self-care.